In the New York Times, Some admissions of failure of the kind we rarely see from American officials. It would be like retired senior US national security officials declaring in 2013 or so that they have been misunderstanding the situation in Iraq for the past ten years.
However, for Israeli leaders, Hamas was also useful. He was one of the people controlling Gaza to talk to…. This could help maintain stability, which is why Israel refrained from launching a large-scale attack on Gaza. …
“We have to admit that the concept was wrong, and we cannot hide behind it,” said Tamir Haiman, retired major general and managing director of the Israel Institute for National Security Studies. “This perception has failed.”
Yaakov Amidror, a retired major general who served as a national security advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a previous government, agrees.
“I made a huge mistake when I thought a terrorist organization could change its DNA,” he said. “I thought that Hamas, because of its responsibility and because it is not only a terrorist organization, but also an organization that has ideas about the future, a small branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, is more responsible, and I learned the hard way that it is not the case, that a terrorist organization is a terrorist organization.”
To some extent, the misconception was an obvious thing to fall into, because it was what everyone wanted to believe. There were many reasons to avoid a full-scale war in Gaza: general humanitarian concerns, concerns about world opinion, concerns about casualties, concerns about unintended consequences, concerns about distracting Israel from the larger threats from Hezbollah and Iran, and a sense that Palestinians in Gaza would not They would disappear, and would even be Israel’s neighbors for the foreseeable future, and Israel did not want to take any military or other action (such as a complete blockade, electricity cuts, etc.) that would make final reconciliation almost impossible. The “perception” that allowed Israel to avoid all these issues was attractive.
But now, every Israeli I know — left, right, center, religious, secular, etc. — is preoccupied with one thing: the cruelty of the enemy, which has shocked even the “right.” The people are traumatized, but they are determined, and after several years of internal discord, they are united. One element of this unity is that tolerance of Hamas rule in Gaza was not (unlike, say, Oslo) a mistake made by half the public, but was based on widely shared illusions about Hamas.